You won’t find many games in the L column when the Guardians record five extra-base hits and Shane Bieber goes eight innings in the same game. Tonight was a prime example of the Guards hitting on all cylinders, even if it wasn’t against the toughest opponent in baseball.
Four Guardians, including two rookies, recorded multi-hit games in the win. One of those rookies, Oscar Gonzalez, is looking like a real-deal hitter — sustainability notwithstanding. The best Cleveland outfielder named Oscar followed up his 2-for-4 debut on Thursday with another solid day at the plate, adding another double on a 106.8 mile-per-hour bullet in the sixth inning.
Gonzalez’s first hit of the night was a fourth-inning single that continued a rally started by José Ramírez, who walked, stole second, and came home on a Josh Naylor double. The Guardians would score another run when Richie Palacios singled home Gonzalez. And, while they wouldn’t need any more runs to top the Tigers, they tacked on another eight throughout the remaining five innings. One of which was this two-run home run from José Ramírez in the top of the ninth,
Three more of them were a bases-clearing triple he hit in the seventh. In true José Ramírez fashion, he finished the day with the most difficult parts of the cycle completed, but couldn’t bring himself to limit his production to just a single or a double.
Shane Bieber’s velocity is still A Concern, but for the second start in a row he’s made it work. Tonight he held the Tigers to one run over eight innings with five strikeouts and no walks. While it didn’t match his season-high 10 strikeouts against the Tigers last week, this was the first time this season he’s made it past the seventh inning. Maybe something is wrong with Bieber, but as long as he can keep dominating the Tigers we know a sliver of his old self is in there somewhere.
Bieber leaned heavily on his slider in the win, throwing it 36 times compared to 34 four-seamers and 18 curveballs.
Assuming the skies don’t open to endless rain for the 20th time this season, the Guardians will wrap up the series against the Tigers tomorrow at 1:40 p.m. with the 2022 AL MVP at third base.